The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Nyerere Dam Discharge Causes Floods in Rufiji River

River Rufiji is flooding again, this time its deluge is being reported to be more serious as it is man-made.

Official reports explain that the water overflow downstream results from torrents coming from the Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Plant Dam which is currently filled to capacity.

El-Nino rains that continue to pound most parts of the country are reportedly filling up the dam at alarming rate, prompting the management to relieve it of its contents.

As of March 2024 the dam had already been filled at a level of 164.8 cubic meters the equivalent of 14.6 million liters and counting and now it seems the walls can no longer handle the continuous flow of the water into the reservoir.

In an effort to save the giant dam, which is the third largest in Africa, the management is now being compelled to discharge water from the behemoth reservoir and this is what causes the Rufiji River to flood.

The Managing Director of Tanzania Electric Supply Company, Mr Gissima Nyamo-Hanga, said they had previously informed all district councils downstream that water will be discharged from Nyerere dam therefore they should be prepared for the riverine floods to possibly break banks.

River Rufiji, which is the longest water body in the country, has a strong seasonal flow pattern, with a flood peak usually being experienced around the months of April during heavy rainy seasons.

In other words things may get worse in a few weeks’ time when the monsoons start.

The Rufiji River lies entirely within Tanzania and stretching over 600 kilometers, happens to be the largest and longest river in the country, formed by the convergence of the Kilombero and Luwegu rivers. Its principal tributary is the Great Ruaha River.

The River starts in southwestern Tanzania highlands and pours into the Indian Ocean across the Mafia Channel, in Coast (Pwani) Region, some 200 kilometers South of Dar-es-salaam. It is navigable for approximately 100 kilometers.

The Rufiji River’s delta also happens to contain the largest mangrove forest in eastern Africa.

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